The Church and The Narrow Path
by Don Murphy
Table of Contents
There was a church in
This epistle is addressed to those who sincerely seek to understand the nature of the true Church of the Lord Jesus Christ, who work for a personal transformation in Christ and a radical turn from the materialism, militarism and impurity of this world, to those who are zealous for the Lord and whose heart cry is "Come, Lord Jesus!" It is addressed to those whose citizenship is in heaven, who are aliens and strangers on earth (I Peter ).
The Bible teaches us that
the Lord Jesus will build His Church and that it will have the keys to the
Kingdom of Heaven (Mt 16:18-19), that He began it on Pentecost when the disciples
were filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts
2:4) and that it grew rapidly (Acts 2:41). The apostle Paul taught us that the Church is
the Body of Christ (I Cor 12:27, Col 1:24). But beyond
that, what do we know about the Church?
We do know that there are a wide variety of 'churches' today calling
themselves the 'true'
The goal of this epistle is to shed more light on the nature of the true Church, the strong Church, to expose the weak and worldly church and to uphold the truth. May the Spirit of the Lord guide us in these steps, revealing to the hearts of those who belong to Him a fuller understanding of the love of God given to His children in His Church.
We want to examine the meaning of the truth revealed in the words of Jesus, "Struggle to enter the Kingdom through the narrow door. The road to hell is wide with plenty of room and most go that way. But the door is small and the path is hard and narrow that leads to life and only a few find it." (Mt 7:13-14, Luke 13:23-24).
Jesus expressed this in a similar way in the parable of the sower (Mt 13:1-23, Mk 4:3-9, Luke 8:5-8).
“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Eph 2:8-9)
If we are saved by grace,
then why do we have to struggle to enter the
“And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who were disobedient? So we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief.” (Heb 3:18-19)
We see here that faith and obedience are tied together. The Greek words used for disobedience and unbelief are “apeitheoô” which means to disbelieve, disobedient, obey not, unbelieving and “apistia” which means faithlessness, disbelief or unfaithfulness, disobedience, unbelief. They are often intermixed in the various Bible translations.
“Therefore, since it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly had good news preached to them failed to enter because of disobedience (Greek apeitheia).” (Heb 4:6)
“Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience (Greek apeitheia).” (Heb 4:11)
This same Greek word is used to describe the work of John the Baptist in Luke where it says that he will turn “the disobedient (Greek apeithes) to the way of the righteous, so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
Our challenge today is to keep faith and obedience together. Many preachers will talk about faith but not many will talk about obedience. Yet you can not have one without the other.
What is the role of grace? Paul teaches us, “Those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.” (Rom )
Grace is God’s power working in us, pushing us to obey God, rather than our carnal nature, so that we will reign in life. We see this in His promise in the Old Testament. “I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.” (Ez 36:27)
God’s grace will cause us to walk in obedience to God, revealing our love for Him, as we accept the abundance of grace that He wants to pour out on us because of His great love for us. This is the meaning of Paul’s teaching that we are saved by grace through faith.
Here you can get an understanding of the nature of the church that you attend. Does your church teach, like Jesus does, that one be born again and then must struggle to enter through the small door and follow the hard and narrow path to be accepted by God? Is that aspect of the teachings of Christ emphasized in your church?
We can see an example of this struggle to enter the Kingdom through the narrow door in the story of the Jews who left Egypt (left the world) and struggled in the wilderness for 40 years before a few of them entered the Promised Land. In the same way, the Bible teaches us that most people who start out on the path to the Kingdom fall by the wayside for various reasons, one of which is a lack of understanding of the Word of God.
But perhaps the major problem facing anyone who receives the Word of God is in obeying Him. The weak teachers will tell us that it is impossible to obey all that Jesus taught; some will even say that His teachings and commands are for a later age. These weak teachers seem to overlook that Jesus ends the Sermon on the Mount (which contains the heart of His teachings) with the statement, "Not everyone who calls Me 'Lord' will enter the Kingdom of Heaven but only those who do the will of My heavenly Father." (Mt 7:21-27).
From the beginning of the
Bible to the end of the Bible, from
You may ask how man gained access to the Tree of Life when his original disobedience closed the way. Romans describes the work done through the Cross of Christ: “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” (See also Phil 2:8-9 and Heb 5:8-9) The whole redemption of Christ consists of restoring obedience to its proper place. The beauty of His salvation is that He brings us back to the life of obedience, through which the creature can give the Creator the glory due Him. It is in this way that the creature can also receive the glory his Creator desires to give him. (Suggested reading: Andrew Murray’s book “the Blessings of OBEDIENCE”.)
We must see that obedience to the Lord Jesus certainly is required! It is mentioned so many times in the Bible (Mt 7:21, 12:50, 28:20, Mk 3:35, Luke 6:46, 8:21, John 12:47, 14:15, 14:24, 15:10, 15:14, Acts 5:32, II Cor 10:5, II Thess 1:8, Heb 5:9, I Peter 1:2, 4:17, I John 2:4, 3:22, 3:24, 5:2). Jesus is the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him.
Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey my commands.” (John 14:15)
He who does not obey the Son shall not see life, the wrath of God rests upon him. (John 3:36)
This message of obedience is so strongly given in the Bible yet most all churches override this message with a false teaching on the gospel of grace. The devil has blinded their spiritual eyes to the truth and has lead them to believe that there is no need to obey any of the commands of Christ and His apostles that would affect their lifestyle. They call that legalism and a heresy. The evidence of the devil’s influence in their lives in this area becomes quickly evident by the abuse and mockery they exhibit when a person questions them about obedience to the commands of Christ and His apostles that would affect their lifestyle and make it different from that of their non-believing neighbors.
Jesus said, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Mt 28:18-20)
Many churches will talk about the Great Commission and will do the first parts of it, making disciples and baptizing them. But how many churches do the last part, teaching them to obey ALL that the Lord Jesus has commanded? Very few indeed!
Most churches will say that they do teach obedience to Christ but ask yourself about when was the last time that your church reviewed ALL of the commands of Christ (there are quite a few in the Sermon on the Mount alone), when was the last time you heard any teaching on all of the commands of Christ? It is a sad fact that most churches do not teach obedience to all of the commands of Christ. Do they teach you not to swear oaths? Jesus did! Do they teach you not to resist an evil man? Jesus did!
Since Jesus said to teach the disciples to observe all that He commanded, his commands should be the main subject of sermons and teachings and Bible studies in every church that claims to be Christian.
teachings of Jesus changed the lives of His disciples to such an extent that
they called their religion "The Way of the Lord" as it is the way of life
characteristic of the disciples of Christ. The term is used, by extension, for
the community itself. Jesus is himself called the "Way".
He is "The Way, The Truth and The Life", no one can be saved except
through Him. His way, the Way that He taught, is the only way into the
We read about The Way in Acts 18:25 where it says that "he had been given instruction in the Way of the Lord". Also Acts 9:2, , 19:9, 23, 22:4, 24:14, 22. In II Peter 2:2 it is called the Way of Truth. Christianity is to be a way of living, a lifestyle taught by Jesus and His apostles.
An example would be the command of Christ, "Do not lay up for yourselves wealth on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves wealth in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal." (Mt 6:19-20) Obedience to this command would certainly affect a person's lifestyle.
One can more fully understand the meaning of the Church when he is willing and anxious to obey all of the commands of the Lord Jesus, who is the Head of the Church. One can only really experience the Church when he is in God's will. Jesus taught us how to live so that we are to obey Him if we expect to be with Him in His Church.
"Struggle to enter the Kingdom through the narrow door. The road to hell is wide with plenty of room and most go that way. But the door is small and the path is hard and narrow that leads to life and only a few find it." (Mt 7:13-14, Luke 13:23-24).
Someone asked Jesus, "Of all the commandments, which is the most important?"
"The most important
one” answered Jesus, "is
this: 'Hear, O
"Well said, Teacher," the man replied. "You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but Him. To love Him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices."
Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, He said to him, "You are not far
When we can recognize and understand
that these are the greatest commandments, we are not far from the
Loving God above all things means to love not the world, as it is written: "Do not love the world or the things in the world. The love of the Father is not in those who love the world; for all that is in the world‑‑the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eyes, the pride in riches‑‑comes not from the Father but from the world. And the world and its desire are passing away, but those who do the will of God live forever." (I John 2:15-17)
Loving our neighbor as ourselves means treating our neighbor as well as, or better than, we treat ourselves, as it is written: "We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us‑‑and we ought to lay down our lives for one another. How does God's love abide in anyone who has the world's goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help? Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action." (I John 3:16-18)
(Please note that the word ‘neighbor’ to the Jews at the time of Jesus did not mean someone living nearby but it meant someone who is a fellow member of the covenant of God, as Jesus explained in His teaching on the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:36. This understanding of the term ‘neighbor’ enables us to realize that we can love our neighbor as ourselves, it is not impossible.)
Love in action means caring for one another, for each others spiritual, emotional and physical needs. By this we can recognize another difference between the strong Church and the weak church; for the weak church does not teach its members to share life together as did the early Church (Acts -47, ).
Nor does the weak church
teach its members to love not the world, and it does not teach its members to
come out from the world, as did the apostle Paul: "Do not be mismatched with
unbelievers. For what partnership is there between righteousness and
lawlessness? Or what fellowship is there between light and darkness? What agreement does Christ have with Belial?
Or what does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the
By this we can recognize the strong Church, for its members are taught to love God above all things, and to love their neighbors as themselves.
When we are on the path to eternal life, we must follow it with great care as it is narrow. We must struggle along it daily as it is hard. But it is a path that leads somewhere. It is a path with mileposts along the way, to show us our progress. It is a path that has an end, eternal life. We can not walk that path to its end unless we have a guide, the Spirit of Jesus. And we must be in His Church.
When we begin walking on this path, we are individuals with many selfish interests. Then the Holy Spirit starts to work on us, slowly changing us into the image of Christ, establishing us into His Body. If we endure and finish the course, we will have died to ourselves, to our individual life, to our selfish desires and will have become part of the Body of Christ, which is the Church. We can then say, along with the apostle Paul, "It is no longer I that lives but Christ that lives in me" (Gal ).
As we travel the path to eternal life, we must drop off the things that hinder our travel, our sins. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, we can become conquerors through Christ. We soon find, however, that our sins have great clinging power. We do not become conquerors of our sins by merely saying that we are. We find, if we are honest with ourselves, that we often deceive ourselves into accepting some of these sins. All too often we hide from God's call to be holy, 'without spot or stain' (Eph 5:27, I Peter 1:15).
The apostle Paul writes,
"You can be very sure of this, that no immoral or impure person or one
who loves worldly things (for that one is following a false god) has any share
Here is where we need to be in a strong Church, for a strong Church will help us to shed these sins. When we are in a weak church, we can deceive ourselves into accepting sin in our life and few people will attempt to help us out of that sin; but when we are in a strong Church where we bear one another's burdens as we live in close fellowship with each other, what is hidden from us may be obvious to our brother or sister. And they are commanded by the Lord to challenge sin in our lives (Mt -18). The apostle Paul commands us to 'root out evil-doers from our Churches' (I Cor 5:9-13).
The apostle John also
teaches us, in strong words, that we can not continue to sin and expect to
So many people today mistakenly think that they are 'saved' because of their 'faith in Jesus' and/or because of their membership in their church. This leads them to pay little attention to their lifestyle. Yes, they may stop smoking or drinking but to follow closely the teachings of Jesus? That, to many, would be legalism. Yet all the writers of the New Testament are strong on this point of obedience to Jesus.
Genuine faith in Jesus produces great changes in a person's lifestyle. The apostle Paul writes, "When you leave your former way of life, you must lay aside that old human nature which, deluded by its lusts, is sinking towards death. You must be made new in mind and spirit, and put on the new nature created by God, which shows itself in the just and devout lifestyle called for by the truth." (Eph 4:22-24).
Let us ask God for wisdom and insight into His will, so that we may walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in good works (Col 1:10).
Not all can be accepted into a strong Church but only those who are willing to repent, those who are willing to stop following the 'god of this world' (II Cor 4:4) and are willing to follow all the teachings and commands of the Lord Jesus. The apostle John writes "whoever claims to be dwelling in Christ binds himself to live as Christ Himself lived" (I John 2:6).
The weak churches desire a
large number of members but a strong Church desires only members who are
Many of us shy away from a strong Church because of the sin in our lives. We want to serve God but we do not want to give up our sin. Jesus said that those who commit sin hate the light (Jesus is the light, the Church is His body) and do not come to it because their deeds would be exposed (John -21).
Yes, the major reason that
most of us 'Christians' are not in a strong Church is that we do not want to
give up the things of the world (I John
2:15-17), we do not want to give up our
sin, thinking that it is not sin. So we
deceive ourselves into believing that we are 'born again', 'saved' and obeying
God. But how can we be completely born
again if we have not completely died to our old self first? (Rom 6:2-8) Isn't the new life conditional upon the death
of the old life? (Rom 8:13-14) Doesn't the
Bible tell us that those who belong to Christ have crucified their flesh with
its selfish desires? (Gal 5:24) How can we be
'saved' if we are on the wide road to hell?
Come, let us seek the true
Jesus came into this world, was born into the world, as a simple man. He laid his divinity aside and was like any man, except without sin and so He is the example for us, the role model for members of His Church. Jesus had no sin that separated Him from God the Father and He depended completely on the power of the Holy Spirit working in Him. We are to be like Him, free from sin that separates us from our heavenly Father and depending completely on the power of the Holy Spirit in our daily life instead of on our own power. We are to be dead to self and alive in Christ!
The Holy Spirit spoke
through the prophet Ezekiel concerning three sins commonly found in the weak
church. “This was the sin of your sister
When we are dead to self we are open to the power of the Holy Spirit working in us, both for our own good and that of the Church. We must be immersed in the Holy Spirit, baptized in the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8) and exercising the Gifts that the Holy Spirit gives us (I Cor 12-14) to do the good deeds that God created us to do (Eph 2:10).
Many people seem to think that only the apostles had the power of the Holy Spirit to heal the sick but we see in Luke 10:9 that others also had this Gift because it is not their power but God’s power at work. The apostle Peter prayed to God saying, “Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” And after they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken! (Acts 4:30-31)
Jesus said, “These are the signs that will follow believers: they will cast out demons, speak in tongues, be kept safe from snakes and poison and will lay hands on the sick to heal them.” (Mk 16:17-18) These signs are signs of faith, signs that they are open to the power of the Holy Spirit in their lives.
The true Church is strong in the power of the Holy Spirit (Luke 24:49), bringing deliverance and healing to people today just as Jesus and His apostles did. Jesus is our role model and Head of the Church. We are to be like Him, not only in being close to the Father, having no sin that separates us from the Father, but also expecting the power of the Holy Spirit to work though us just as it did through Him.
Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go to the Father.” (John 14:12)
Amazing! The works that Jesus did we can do also if we truly believe! Did He really mean that? Of course He did!
The strong Church helps its members to build strong faith in God and to cast off all doubts. James teaches us, "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways." (James 1:5-8)
How many of us have even a tiny bit of faith? Jesus said that if a person had even a tiny bit of faith, they could tell that mountain or that tree to jump into the ocean and it would do it. So we can all see that we have a ways to go in developing strong faith.
Faith is a growth process, it is both a Gift of the Holy Spirit (I Cor 12:9) and a Fruit of the Holy Spirit working in our lives (Gal 5:22).
A strong church will develop strong members. But we need to remember that strong faith must be accompanied by strong obedience to ALL of the commands of Christ and His apostles. We need to remember the warning that Christ gave to His disciples who did have strong faith. "Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who WOULD NOT obey God's laws!’" (Mt 7:21-23)
The apostle Paul, in I Cor 13, gave a similar warning to those with strong faith but lacking in strong love. All of the commands of Christ are for the purpose of teaching us how to love God above all things and how to love our neighbor as ourselves. As both Jesus and Paul points out, we can have strong faith and still be lost eternally if we do not give absolute obedience to ALL of the teachings and commands of Christ. Many of the weak preachers proclaim obedience to Christ but upon close examination, you find that they mean obedience to one or two commands and not to all of them.
The Secret of True Obedience
“In the days of his earthly life, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to the One who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered; and having been made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.” (Heb 5:7-9)
The secret of true obedience is a clear and close personal relationship with God. All of our attempts to achieve full obedience will fail until we get access to His abiding fellowship. It is God’s holy presence, consciously abiding with us, that keeps us from disobeying Him. Defective obedience is always the result of a defective life. To rouse and spur on that defective life by arguments and motives may help, but only to make us feel the need of a different life, a life so entirely under the power of God that obedience will be its natural outcome. The defective life, the life of broken and spasmodic fellowship with God, must be healed, and make way for a full and healthy life; then full obedience will become possible. The secret of true obedience is the return to close and continual fellowship with God.
We read that Christ “learned obedience.” Why was this necessary? The Word proceeds to explain that He “learned … obedience by the things which he suffered, and … became the source of eternal salvation to all them that obey him”. Suffering is unnatural to us, and therefore calls for the surrender of our will. Christ needed suffering to learn to obey through it and give up His will to the Father at any cost. He needed to learn obedience so that as our great High Priest He might be made perfect.
He learned obedience. He became obedient unto death that He might become the source of our salvation. He became source of salvation through obedience that He might save those “who obey Him.”
As obedience was with Him absolutely necessary to procure salvation, so with us it is absolutely necessary to inherit it. The very essence of salvation is obedience to God.
Christ as the obedient One saves us as His obedient ones. Whether in His sufferings on earth or in His glory in heaven, whether in himself or in us, obedience is what the heart of Christ is set upon.
With us, as with Christ, the life of continual obedience requires a close personal relationship with God. (Suggested reading: Andrew Murray’s book “The Believer’s Secret of Obedience”)
The Church of the Lord Jesus Christ has the power to forgive sin, for it is the Body of Christ and He is the Head of His Body. Jesus said to His Church, "I am with you always, even to the end of the age... If you forgive the sins of someone, they are forgiven; if you pronounce them unforgiven, unforgiven they remain." (Mt 28:20, John 20:23, Mt , ). Jesus is saying, “I am with you as your Leader, I can and will direct you to declare forgiveness of sins to a repentant member.”
This means that when one commits a sin, repents, accepts the discipline of the Church, then the Church, guided by the Holy Spirit, has the power to declare forgiveness of that sin. If the Spirit of Truth is not guiding the church, then it certainly is not the church that has Jesus as its head.
This declaring the forgiveness of sins by the Church is necessary because the Church can determine, under the leadership of Jesus, that the person has truly repented; whereas by himself, he may deceive himself into thinking that he has been forgiven by God when he has not really repented. And often there is great healing power released when a sinner has repented and has been forgiven by the Church. "Confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, and then you will be healed." (James 5:16). Oh, what a joy it is when you know that you are forgiven! (Rom 4:7-8)
Unless the Church has the power to declare the forgiveness of sin, it is not a strong Church but merely a social (or business) group, a weak church. The church can not, in the name of Jesus, forgive sins if it is such a loose group that it does not have intimate knowledge of each other's lives, if its people do not submit to the church, if they are not willing to accept the church discipline, if the elders are not willing to confront sinners in their congregation. In short, if there is not a strong bond of love between members, it is not a Church. The apostle John writes that we know that we have entered into life when we realize that we truly love the brethren (I John , the only test given in the Bible where we can seriously check our walk). Jesus said that outsiders will know that you are His disciples if you have such love for each other that they can see it (John ).
The weak preachers in the weak church do not confront people with their sins. Just the opposite happens. The people are actually affirmed in their sins by compromising shepherds.
Ezekiel says of such preachers, “With lies ye have made the heart of the righteous sad, whom I have not made sad; and strengthened the hands of the wicked, that he should not turn from his wicked ways, by promising him more life.” (Ezekiel 13:22) The prophet is saying, “You’ve saddened the righteous with your frivolous preaching. And you’ve empowered the sensual to sin even more, without guilt. You’ve given them lies about eternal life. No! You’re robbing these people of eternal life. You’ve turned God’s grace into lasciviousness.”
Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil and He does it through His Church, His strong Church, with strong preachers who confront sin in people’s lives, overturning the work that the devil has done.
Jesus taught a three step procedure for dealing with sin. “If your brother commits a sin, go and take the matter up with him, strictly between yourselves, and if he listens to you, you have won your brother over. If he will not listen, take one or two others with you, so that all facts may be duly established on the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, report the matter to the church; and he will not listen even to the church, you must then treat him as you would a pagan or a tax-gatherer. I tell you this: whatever you forbid on earth shall be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you allow on earth shall be allowed in heaven.” (Mt 18:15-18)
The apostle Paul taught that the Church is to be the judge over matters concerning members of the church. In I Cor 5, he gave instructions on dealing with a man who was living an immoral life. He warned them about not allowing sin in one person to corrupt the whole church. We are to have nothing to do with people who claim to be Christians but continue to live a sinful life.
The Bible compares the Church with a marriage. Read the Apostle Paul's teaching in Ephesians 5:21-32 on the subject. The strong Church consists of people deeply committed to one another and to Christ, like God intends man and woman to be committed to one another in marriage. For a marriage to be successful, each must commit himself totally to the other. Each must die to himself so that the unity can grow. Each must share of himself for the good of the marriage. So it is with the Church. There is little commitment when people treat church membership as some people treat marriage, skipping from one to another. But when there is 'koinonia' - deep committed fellowship and sharing, there is true Church life.
Each member of the Church is an organ of the Body of Christ (I Cor -27) and can have life only so long as it is part of the Body (John 15:6). Each member must die to himself so that he can become part of the Body of Christ. Just as a person can not be two people at once, so a person can not be an independent individual and also be a part of the Body of Christ. A person can only be one or the other.
As the grapes must lose their individual selves in order to become wine and the wheat must be ground up and lose its individual identity to become bread, so must a person die to himself, lose his individual identity (remember the words of the apostle Paul, “It is no longer I who lives”) and become a part of the Body of Christ. Then the joy and peace of the Lord becomes a permanent reality in a person's life.
Yes, the path to eternal life is narrow and hard. It is a struggle, but with our brothers and sisters in the Church helping one another to carry our burdens, it is a joyful path. If one has not experienced the joy of fellowship in the Church, it is difficult to describe, just as the joy of a beautiful marriage is difficult to describe to one who has not experienced it. But it is real! Praise God, it is real!
The apostle Peter tells us, "You greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory." (I Peter 1:8). The Church is not only created to enable God's chosen to shed the sin that hinders entering the Kingdom, but it is also created to allow the love of Jesus to be shared among His children.
We must not lose sight of
the words of the apostle Paul who wrote, "The
Love is joy in others. Passing on this joy that the presence of others brings us means speaking words of love. Thus words of anger and worry about members of the Church are out of the question. The apostle Peter teaches us, "Since, by obedience to the truth, you have purified your souls until you feel a sincere affection towards your brothers, love one another whole-heartedly with all your strength." (I Peter 1:22). The apostle Paul knew this love and joy. Read his epistles carefully, looking for his expressions of this joy and you will be amazed!
This joy can be present only when there is unity in the Church. Unity is so important that it is one of the first subjects taught by the Lord Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount (Mt -26). The strong Church will not allow anyone to attend the assembly for worship if that person has anything against another member (I Cor -32). The path is narrow and must be followed closely or the Spirit will leave and the pilgrim will be lost (Heb 6:6). But when all are in unity, what a joy in both heaven and on earth!
One of the major differences between the various branches of Christianity is the method of living a holy life. Most all churches teach some manner of holy living but the means to achieve that are quite varied.
Many churches teach that all a person has to do to achieve a holy life is to obey their church commandments and receive their church sacraments. These generally are the ‘high’ churches that use a liturgy and ceremonies in their church ceremonies.
Other churches teach a different method of achieving a holy life, they teach imputed righteousness, which when boiled down, is not all that much different than what the ‘high’ churches teach, especially if they teach that certain sacraments or ordinances are also required, such as water baptism and/or the Lord’s Supper.
In a few churches, where there are no sacraments, it is generally taught that a holy life is achieved by actually living a holy life in the manner explained by the Lord Jesus and His apostles.
These are the churches that take into consideration the words of Christ, "You must be perfect as God is perfect" (Mt ) and the words of the apostle Peter, "Like obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires that you formerly had in ignorance. Instead, as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in all your conduct; for it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.’" (I Peter 1:14-16)
The apostle Paul taught us, "Lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth." (Eph 4:22-24)
"May the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for one another, and for all people, just as we also do for you; so that He may establish your hearts without blame in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints." (I Thess 3:13)
One of the keys to actually living the holy life is a proper understanding of our situation here on earth. The Lord Jesus and His apostles try to teach that in many different ways. One of these ways, one of these keys to truly understanding our situation that we are currently in, is to recognize the age that we live in.
The Bible teaches that there are two ages, this current age, which is for a definite period, and the age to come, which is for eternity.
In the age to come, the Lord God will
reign supreme forever. However, during
this present age God has allowed the devil to rule the worldly system in which
we live. This means that in this present
age, there are two kingdoms, the
Paul tells us that the Lord Jesus Christ gave Himself for our sins that He might deliver us out of this present evil age (Gal 1:4).
It is important that we understand the age that we live in so that we know the truth of our situation, for the truth will set us free, Jesus said.
When our mother gave birth to us, we were born into this world, into a world that the devil rules (I John ). Until we are born again, born from above, we are under the dominion of Satan (Acts 26:18) who is a murderer and a liar (John 8:44).
That is why the apostle Paul told us, "Beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." (II Cor 7:1) We must relinquish, give up, our service to our old way of life, to our carnal nature which submits to the authority of the devil. We must instead submit ourselves to the authority of our heavenly Father and come under His complete rule.
When we understand the situation that we
are in, that we are living in the dominion of Satan but are citizens of the
Jesus told the Roman governor, "My Kingdom is not of this world. If My Kingdom were of this world, my men would be fighting to save Me." (John 18:36)
Jesus knew which kingdom He was in, which was His and which was Satan’s. While living in this world, Jesus set us an example of how to live here. We see the physical power that Satan has in his temptation of Jesus, how he could put Jesus on a mountain or on the top of the temple (Mt 4:5, 8). We see how Jesus responded; He did so with the Word of God and with humility and meekness. Of course that will be different in the age to come, then He will come with power and might, the absolute Ruler! But in this age, we must recognize the reality of our situation, just as Jesus did when He was in this world.
When we understand the age that we live in, we can more readily recognize the things of the world that are under Satan’s authority, as John explains in I John 2:15-19. For example we can more readily recognize that worldly vanities, such as concern for our appearance, our homes, our cars, is not from God but from our carnal nature which is still under the influence of Satan. Also our support for wars, for the military, is not from God. Jesus said that His followers do not fight (John ), they do not resist the evil man (Mt ), they leave that up to their heavenly Father, as they learn to recognize the age in which they live.
The Spirit draws us on this path to eternal life, to holy living. In most ways, it is the same path for all who would be a disciple of the Lord Jesus and have eternal life. It is the Way of the Lord (Acts 9:2, 18:25-26, 19:9, 23, 22:4, 24:14, 22), a way of life characteristic of the Christian community where one gives up his worldly, selfish life and begins to live according to the teachings and commands of the Lord Jesus.
The teachings and commands of Jesus are for the purpose of showing His disciples how to live a life worthy of the Father (I John 3:2-3). Jesus said that we must be perfect as God is perfect (Mt ). And the apostle John warned us, "Children, do not let anyone fool you. Whoever lives a holy life is holy just as He is holy. Whoever lives a sinful life belongs to the devil." (I John 3:7-8) There are only two ways, a holy life or a sinful life. There is no in between, no halfway, however much we might like there to be.
Jesus showed us that the
Way to the
One of the key subjects that Jesus and His apostles preached on was concerning money and possessions. It is the focus of much of His teachings, His warning of the dangers of money and possessions. Sadly, it is also the focus of much of the preaching by today's preachers, but in the opposite direction, for it seems that they are always asking for money. Yet the apostle Paul warned us that the love of money is the root of all evil (I Tim ).
The early Church should be an example for us. Their use of money and possessions made the Church of Jerusalem distinctive and set them apart from the rest of the people (Acts 4:33).
Jesus was very clear about possessions. He commanded His disciples to sell their possessions (Luke ). And Jesus said that no one can be His disciple unless that person bids farewell to all his possessions (Luke ). We read in the Bible that the apostles obeyed Jesus in this regard (Mt ) and later, after the Church was born, all its members obeyed this command of Jesus (Acts , , 34). They lived together in Christian community, sharing all things in common.
The Bible tells us that all, repeat ALL, who shared the faith in the early Church held all material good in common; they sold their property and possessions and distributed the proceeds among themselves according to what each one needed (Acts 2:44-45).
Here we can see the clear
example of the early Church as they put the teachings of Jesus into practice in
every day living. Jesus taught that one
could not travel the narrow path to the
The burden of possessions is too heavy a load for a disciple to carry. It keeps him from loving his brother as himself, for when one says, 'This is mine', he is revealing his selfishness, just like a little child who grabs a toy and will not share it with his playmates.
We will all one day leave this world and enter the next. Our earthly possessions will be left behind, we can not take them with us. Who will have them then? (Luke 12:20) In the next life we will not have any possessions, only here in this life are we faced with a choice of clinging to material possessions or clinging to God.
Jesus told a young man,
"If you wish to go the whole way,
go, sell your possessions, and give to the poor, and then you will have riches
in heaven. And then come, follow me." When the young man heard this, he did not
receive it with joy but went away with a heavy heart, for he had great
wealth. So Jesus told his disciples,
"I tell you that a man rich in
worldly possessions will find it hard to enter the
Now many people, when asked about this passage in the Bible, will say that the young man had a problem with riches and that this teaching applies only to those who have a similar problem. But don't we all have that problem to some degree or other? We can piously proclaim that we are not slaves of our possessions, that we are merely stewards of them and will give them up when told to do so by God. But is that really true? How do we know that we can actually part with all our possessions, like the early Church members did, unless we actually try to do it? Possessions give us a freedom, so we think, a freedom to do things that we couldn't do if we lacked certain possessions. Our car allows us to go where we please, our own home is our castle where we have control of our life. Parting with these things means that we lose control and that can be scary to many folks.
Jesus said, "Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Get yourselves purses that do not wear out, treasures that will not fail you, in heaven where no thief can reach it and no moth can destroy it. For where you treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Luke 12:33, Mt 6:19-21) “You can not serve both God and worldly possessions." (Mt 6:24) You can not have both heavenly treasures and earthly treasures, you must choose one or the other is what the Lord Jesus is telling us.
"Struggle to enter the Kingdom through the narrow door. The road to hell is wide with plenty of room and most go that way. But the door is small and the path is hard and narrow that leads to life and only a few find it." (Mt 7:13-14, Luke 13:23-24).
One of the several reasons that Jesus gave for the avoidance of possessions was the harmful effect that they have on a disciple's spiritual health. This theme is repeated through out the New Testament. The apostle Paul writes, "The love of money is the root of all sorts of evil, and some, by longing for it, have wandered away from the faith, and have pierced themselves with many sharp griefs." (I Tim 6:10) Jesus said, in the parable of the sower, "The seed sown in the thorns is someone who hears the Word, but the worries of the world and the lure of riches choke the Word and so it produces nothing." (Mt 13:22) The lure of riches is a deadly temptation to today's Christian, for who among us do not desire more worldly wealth?
The teaching of Jesus in Luke 12 should be prayerfully and carefully studied by anyone who would claim Jesus as Lord. In this teaching, Jesus is not talking about outrageous greed, but the ordinary desire for things. "Be on your guard against desiring material possessions", He proclaims (Luke ). This is often translated as "Be on your guard against greed" or "Be on your guard against avarice" which would imply something that is not a problem for most people, but, as shown in the context of the two teachings (Luke 12:13-15 and Luke 12:16-21), it clearly does not imply excess desire but merely wanting more, something that seems basic to our lower nature. The Greek word used (pleonexia) means "striving for material possessions" (Kittel's Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Volume VI, pages 266-274, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company 1978) which then implies taking advantage of one's neighbor. This same Greek word is also used in Eph 5:5 and Col 3:5 where, in both cases, Paul calls it "worshiping a false god".
So that is one of the reasons that Jesus said, "Blessed are the poor, for theirs is the Kingdom of God." (Luke 6:20) The other side of this issue, the reverse position, is expressed by Jesus as, "Woe to you who are rich, you have had your time of happiness." (Luke 6:24) And in the story of Lazarus and the rich man, it is explained so forcefully that few can fail to understand the point that Jesus is trying to make when this rich man is told, "During your life good things came your way, just as bad things came the way of Lazarus. Now he is being comforted here while you are in agony." (Luke 16:19-31)
James wrote, "A word to you who are rich. Weep and wail over the miserable fate descending on you... You have fattened yourselves for a day of slaughter." (James 5:1-5)
Therefore Paul wrote, "We brought nothing into this world and we can take nothing with us when we leave. We should be content to have food and covering. The love of money is the root of all sorts of evil, and some, by longing for it, have wandered away from the faith, and have pierced themselves with many sharp griefs. But you, man of God, must shun all this, and pursue righteousness, piety, fidelity, love, fortitude, and gentleness." (I Tim 6:7-11)
The beloved apostle John wrote, "Love not the world, nor the things of the world." (I John 2:15) Jesus said that the greatest commandment is, "Thou shall love the Lord God with your whole mind, with your whole soul and with all your strength." (Mt 22:37) That leaves no room for attachment to earthly possessions.
The second greatest commandment, according to Jesus, is, "Thou shall love thy neighbor as thyself." (Mt 22:39) If your neighbor, who should be your brother or sister in the Lord if you are living in the midst of disciples, if your neighbor is lacking something that you have, then you are not loving your neighbor as yourself. If you have two coats and your neighbor has none, you are subject to judgement for being selfish (Luke ), aren't you?
It is literally impossible to love your neighbor as yourself when you live in private possessions!
The apostle John wrote, "If anyone has material possessions and sees someone in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Children, our love must not be just words or mere talk, but must be active and genuine, which is the proof that we belong to the truth." (I John 3:17-18) Real love is shown by our actions, not by our words. Therefore Jesus said, "Everyone will know that you are My disciples by the love that you show to each other." (John 13:35)
This was shown by Zacchaeus
when he met the Lord for he then said, "I am going to give half of my property to the poor." (Luke 19:1-10) He was moved by the Spirit to say this. And if he later joined the Church in
When we examine the early Church, we can see how this love was shown. The Bible tells us, "They were all held in high esteem, for they had no needy persons among them, because all who had property in land or houses would sell it, bring the proceeds of the sale to the apostles who would see that it is distributed to anyone in need." (Acts 4:34-35) They shared their possessions in common which was a powerful witness to those around them. How much more would this speak to the world today if those who would be disciples of Christ would do the same?
Along with the example of
the Church in
There was a man named Ananias in the community. He and his wife, Sapphira, agreed to sell a property but, with his wife's connivance, he kept back part of the price and brought the rest and presented it to the apostles.
What happened next is certainly one of the most amazing accounts in the Book of Acts.
Peter said to him, "Ananias, how can Satan have so possessed you that you should lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land? While you still owned the land, wasn't it yours to keep, and after you sold it, wasn't the money yours to do with as you like? Who put this scheme into your mind? You have not been lying to men but to God." When Ananias heard this, he dropped dead!
This is a very interesting, powerful story about the dangers of possessions and about lying to God. But how did Ananias lie to God? Certainly God knew what Ananias did, how much he received for the land. How can a person lie to God when God knows everything that we do? The only way that we can lie to God is when we promise Him something and don't intend to do it. The only way that Ananias could have lied to God was in his baptismal vows (I Peter ). He made a pledge to God which he did not intend to keep, for he had doubts about trusting God for his daily bread (Mt ). Ananias knew the command of Jesus to sell all your possessions (Luke , ), and he knew that all the members of the Church were doing that (Acts ), yet he didn't want to travel that narrow path.
Ananias had no intention of giving up everything to the Church, so Peter was admonishing him when he told him, "While you still owned the land, wasn't it yours to keep, and after you sold it, wasn't the money yours to do with as you like?" Peter was saying that this is what was in the mind of Ananias, that he thought that he could keep part of his possessions, just in case this Way of the Lord (Acts 18:25) should prove to be false, in case he had to provide for himself.
What a lesson this should be for us! We should be able to see how important this business of giving up possessions and sharing life together is to God and His Church.
One can not say that “Well, for you, that may be required but, as for me, I am under grace”, for that is merely trying to excuse your life of sin and selfishness. All are required to die to self in order to enter the Kingdom. All are given the Spirit if they are on the path to the Kingdom. The Spirit that we are given is the Spirit of God, the Spirit of love.
For one to say, “Well, you may give up all your possessions, if that is what you feel called to do, but as for me, I will do it when God tells me to and so far He hasn't told me”, when one talks like this, he is exposing his desire for the life of the world and is expressing where his citizenship really lies.
Another will say, "Well, it is all in your attitude. If you are free of slavery to material possessions, you may keep them, remembering that you are merely a steward of them, they really belong to God”. This certainly is self-deception, a twisting of the gospel for one's own self-interest. "Woe to you who are rich!” the Lord said. Jesus clearly showed us the necessity of serving only God and not the world. He said that you CAN NOT serve both God and worldly wealth (Mt ).
To be in the strong Church, means to love one another above ourselves. It means to share our possessions with one another so that there is no one in the Church who is in need (Acts -47, ). How can we claim to love one another if one is in need and another one has more than enough? (James 2:15-17, I John 3:17-18) Isn't that deceiving ourselves? How can we claim to be a Christian and want to hold on to our possessions? Isn't that clear disobedience to the commands of Christ? (Luke 14:33, Luke 12:33, Mt 19:21, Mt 6:19-33) How can we say that our God wants us to be prosperous with worldly wealth? Just who is our God? Is our road wide or are we on the narrow, hard path? Is that why we resist the strong Church, because we want our selfish desires and do not want to give up our 'good' life?
A key test to determine the worldliness of a church is their attitude towards money. If the church asks for tithes, or is secretive about its financial affairs, or provides little or no financial support for needy members, then it surely is a weak church. The strong Church does not ask for tithes (that is an Old Testament rule, nowhere do you find in the New Testament that the Christians could keep 90 percent of their income - read Mt 19:21, 27; Luke 12:33, 14:33, Acts 2:44-45, 3:6, 4:32-5:11 and look what happened to Ananias when he tried to keep part of his). The strong Church does not conduct its financial affairs in darkness but brings it to the light (John -21). And one of the main functions of the strong Church is to care for its members so that there is no needy persons among them (Acts -35).
This path to eternal life naturally leads us into pacifism (Mt 5:38-48, Eph 6:12, John 18:36), community-church life (Acts 2:42-47, 4:29-5:16), concern for our dress (I Cor 11:10, I Peter 3:1-6, I Tim 2:9), rejecting oaths (Mt 5:33-37, James 5:12), and other practices taught by the Lord Jesus and His apostles, most of which are ignored by the weak churches. It is the common path traveled by all those who have sought eternal life ever since the first Pentecost, for it is the same Spirit who guides all travelers on that narrow path.
Some would say, "Well, it depends on how you interpret the Bible”. Many others would cry, “Legalist!” There is always an excuse available for the people in the weak churches to convince themselves that their selfish life is alright with God, for He does allow them to be deceived if they are not willing to submit totally to His will (Mt 13:10-15, Rom 1:24-32).
If we are truly committed to the Lord Jesus, then we will make every effort to please Him (Eph ). We will attempt, with all that is in us, to obey His every command. If we count the cost of discipleship first (Luke -33), and then, knowing the hardships that lie ahead (James 1:2-4), continue on, we will not be surprised when tribulations occur (John ).
The strong Church is a small Church, for few will find the way into it (Mt ). The weak church will mock you and scorn you, they will hate you and ostracize you but when that happens, rejoice on that day, and leap for joy, for your reward is great in heaven (Luke 6:22-23). The few who do humble themselves under the mighty hand of God will be raised up and exalted at the proper time (I Peter 5:6).
The Book of
Acts chapter 2 records the birth of the
Using Acts 2 as a guide, we see that there are four types of churches today.
When we use Acts chapter 2
as a guide we find that the way to the
"Struggle to enter the Kingdom through the narrow door. The road to hell is wide with plenty of room and most go that way. But the door is small and the path is hard and narrow that leads to life and only a few find it." (Mt 7:13-14, Luke 13:23-24).
In the Parable of the Sower (Mt 13), Jesus describes not only what happens to people who are born again when they hear the word of God (I Peter 1:23) but also He is describing four types of churches, three that are weak churches and one that is a strong Church.
The first weak church is the largest one: "When anyone hears the word of the Kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on the path." (Mt 13:19) The path that Jesus speaks of here is the wide road to hell, as He taught when He said "The gate is wide and the road is easy that leads to destruction, and there are many who take it." (Mt 7:13) When a person hears the good news of the Kingdom, as taught by the weak preachers, he does not understand it, for it has not been properly taught. These weak preachers claim to be Christians but they have a weak or perverted religion, and do not have the Gospel themselves. They rely on their liturgy, rituals and sacraments instead of on the Lord Jesus Christ. The members of their church have no protection from the tricks of the devil, so if one of them should hear the Gospel, the devil is there immediately to snatch it away. The same is true of new Christians who join a weak church such as this, they easily fall prey to the devil and so lose their salvation.
The second weak church is the liberal church: "As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet such a person has no root, but endures only for a while, and when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, that person immediately falls away." (Mt 13:20-21) A church on the rocky ground is a liberal church, one that calls Jesus Lord but mostly ignores what He taught. They have no power to endure the trails and tribulations that the devil brings forth to try the faith of all who believe (John 16:33, Acts 14:22). When a person hears the Gospel and joins such a church or is already a member, they have no ability to stand firm in their beliefs as they are not firmly rooted in the truth.
The third weak church is the so called 'Bible believing church': "As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the lure of wealth choke the word, and it yields nothing." (Mt 13:22) This person is in, or joins a church that teaches nearly all the truth (a 'Bible believing church') but falls short in some critical areas, such as possessions (Luke 12:33, I John 2:15). Since they do not hear the full Gospel (Acts 2:4 and Acts 2:44), they fall prey to the temptations of the world, their concern for their own life chokes the Spirit such that they do not bear the fruits of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23, Mt 21:43).
The fourth church described by Jesus is the strong Church: "But as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty." (Mt 12:23) The good soil is the Church, the Body of Christ, where one can bear fruit for the Kingdom of God (John 15:1-8). Like a plant growing in well watered, rich soil, it is in the strong Church that one has the help of his brothers and sisters to live a holy life and to refrain from sin (Gal 6:1-2), it is there that the temptations of the world are lessened and the sense of the coming Kingdom of God is greater. It is in the strong Church that one has the power of God to fully resist sin.
Jesus said, "Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road is easy that leads to destruction, and there are many who take it. For the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it. Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits." (Mt 7:13-16).
There is a high fence
around the good soil, around the strong Church, a fence that has only a very
small gate in it (Mt -14). That gate is the Lord Jesus (John 10:7), no
one can enter the Church except through Him (John
14:6), by following His teachings and
commands (Luke 6:46-49). The gate is
so small that no one can enter unless they shed (get rid of, bid farewell to)
all their earthly possessions, not only material possessions (Luke 14:33, Mt 19:24) but also their pride, selfishness, self-indulgence (Gal 5:16-17),
and all things that oppose the Holy Spirit of God. Therefore, the fence keeps out those who
would want to hold on to their personal possessions, as possessions means
selfishness (Acts -47, ) which is forbidden in the Body
of Christ, in the strong Church (
The weak prophets, the preachers in the weak churches, will minimize or deny the existence of the narrow gate, they will tell you that the gate is wide, all you have to do is believe. Yes, there is a wide gate, but it is not that one that leads to eternal life. Beware of the weak prophets!
Jesus is the light of the world (John ). His light shines into the darkness, drawing people towards Him. However, many, if not most, who are drawn towards Him stop when they come to the fence, when they are close to the gate; for they, like Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11), don't quite trust the Lord God enough to give up everything for the Lord, they blindly remain outside the gate, refusing to go in and obtain eternal salvation. They think that they have enough light where they are at. They can see the Kingdom from where they are at (John 3:3) and mistakenly think that they are in it (John 3:5).
In John 3 we read where
Jesus says that those who are born again, born from above, can see
As we are taught in John 3 and in Hebrews 6, a person can be born again, can see the Kingdom of God, but still remain outside the gate, can still be lost for eternity if they refuse to enter through that narrow gate, which requires them to submit completely to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and be willing to obey all that He taught and commanded.
The Lord Jesus calls for a holy Church, for it to be holy and spotless, without blemish (Eph ). Only those who are willing to be made clean can enter through that narrow gate into His Church. To be willing is the important part (John ).
Let us seek the strong Church, to be part of the strong Body of Christ. Let us long for it, struggle for it, with all our strength. When we find it, let us be deeply committed to it. Above all, let us remember that the Church is a gift from our heavenly Father, let us remember that He is the One who calls us to it, forms us into it, and feeds us when we are part of it.
Let us give up our claims to the things of this world, let us drop our hold on Satan's kingdom and place our hopes and our treasures in God's Kingdom. Let us give up trying to live in both kingdoms, for the day is coming, sooner or later for each one of us, when we will pass into eternity and stand before the Judgment seat of Christ (Rom 2:5-11, II Cor 5:10, I Thess 5:4-11). Let us become part of the strong Body of Christ, the true Church, before it is too late!
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!
The Lord goes forth like a mighty warrior,
He sends the fire,
He shouts, He roars,
He shall prevail against His enemies.